Noteworthy Report: March 2017

Welcome my friends to a very, VERY late Noteworthy Report of Against The Fragmentaire. As you know, ATF is a project I run on my free time, and these past two months were busy as fvck putting me off track.

In today’s overcrowded metal scene, more than 100 albums get released every month, and March had more than his fair share of “big” releases, from the highly anticipated fourth album of Woe, to a new Forteresse release, and from the –also highly anticipated– furious album of The Furor to the debut of all-star Doedsvangr. On top of the fierce competition for fan attention, Mastodon released their new album which –as uninspired as it is– overshadowed pretty much everything else.

Yet the underground never sleeps; if you aren’t easily entertained by the “low hanging fruit”, March came with some impressive gifts that passed under the radars of big publications. Without further ado, these are some of the most noteworthy releases.

 

Vacivus – Nuclear Chaos

The UK blackened deathsters (ala-Portal) return with a short but killer EP. Soul crushing riffs reduce everything to dust. Nuclear Chaos is upon us, embrace it or perish!

 

Harvest Gulgaltha – Altars Of Devotion

In a similar vein, Harvest Gulgaltha play “cryptic necromantic black death metal”, or in other words, minimal blackened death. The majority of the album is slow-paced and feels like sinking in quicksand. So much gloom and despair it feels otherworldly.

 

Mistveil – Amnesia

This is quite a debut from my compatriots Mistveil. They play melodic doom/death metal in the vein of Saturnus and early Draconian. I personally enjoy such music during the cold winter nights, but this is just my preference and timing isn’t a factor of quality in any case. You don’t want to miss it!

 

Nordland – European Paganism

This here is an album with what I call a “barrier-to-entry”. The first minutes of the album feel like they pointlessly thrust in every direction, but at some point you get what they try (and ultimately manage) to do. The album is exactly what the title says: they pick threads from pagan black all over Europe, and join them in a unique piece of art. You will hear Enslaved (both early and late), Ancient Rites, Fen and a bunch of other influences beautifully married in unity. A really interesting as well as demanding listen.

 

Wormwood – Ghostlands: Wounds From A Bleeding Earth

The Swedish folk black-metallers released their debut album this month. Filled with mostly awesome stuff, fans of Thyrfing and Amon Amarth will want to check it out. There are some odd, off-putting, Iron Maiden-ish moments here and there, but I guess this never killed anyone…

 

Pillorian – Obsidian Arc

Born just this past summer by veterans of the scene (including John Haughm of ex-Agalloch), Pillorian released their debut album in March, sharing their take on avant-garde folk black metal. If you’re a fan of USBM don’t skip this album…

 

In the following days I will release the April NWR, as well as a special NWR of releases that I listened and cared enough to share but fell through the cracks of time and ultimately never got to talk about them. So stay tuned, and as always, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Interview with Avslut

As you may remember, last month I reviewed this fresh Swedish band’s latest EP. Once they did a break from touring they found the time to have a chat about their music and their future plans. Don’t you wanna know? Well, keep reading.

First of all, give me a short biography of the band.

Avslut is a strong 4 piece band based in Stockholm Sweden. It all begun one year ago when C and O wanted to do something different from what their other bands do/did. From the beginning it was just supposed to be a 2 piece band between them both, but short after E was invited to do the lead guitar works and it became a band. Later on D joined on Bassguitar.

You released two singles and an EP the past year. What is the feedback so far?

The feedback has been great all across the world, we’ve been played on radiostations in      several countries and in October’s Edition of Close Up Magazine Avslut were appointed as the best unsigned Swedish band. This is to mention the EP. The singles have made us into the top Metal lists on spotify and resulted in great collaborations and contacts.

What are your future plans? Are you working on a debut album or should we expect something different first?

We are working on an album at the moment that will be recorded, done and released after this summer. During the time we will do some gigs in between and keep on spreading Darkness.

Anger. Misery. Darkness. Tell me about your lyrics.

The titles sums up some of the “negative” forms of energies the living, or dead tend to produce, in different circumstances. You can either “run from it”, or embrace it to it’s fullest and use it as a tool. The lyrics comes from our own personal experience, and we’ve chosen to write them in our language.

Where do you draw your inspiration from?

From within our inner selves.

What is your creative routine when you begin to write a song? On that note, is there some piece of gear that you feel is essential to facilitate your work?

We often come up with new riffs at home or when we do our 3 days a week rehearsal that are the same days every week no matter what, that’s pretty much the routine we got. We always want to involve all the members in the songwriting and all of us got our own homestudios that facilitates the songwriting and sharing ideas.

Do you have any plans for live shows?

We will go to Germany the 15th of April to play at Dark Easter Festival, then we will play 2 shows on home ground. We will open up for the cult Death Metal band Asphyx the 20th of May in Stockholm then we will do a Festivalshow in Stockholm at Prostatattack in October. That’s what’s planned so far, but we’re sure it will be more bookings inbetween.

avslut2

There is a long tradition of extreme metal in Sweden, and as far as I know, even the state kind of embraces that now. Are there any difficulties for black metal bands up there?

Yeah we got for example Dissection, Marduk, Dark Funeral and Watain to mention some important bands in the genre that have released many great albums and made big prints around the world. It’s very common band’s sound to much original than try to create their own sound that’s what makes it hard for new bands to reach out to a bigger mass, and that’s the biggest difficulty up here.

Tell me about your local scene. Any notable underground bands we should keep an eye for?

There are some strong growing bands in Stockholm to keep an eye out for. IXXI & Mephorash. The scene is very small in Stockholm but is on its way back. It’s up to the new bands to lead the new wave.

What are some albums you got to listen lately that you feel deserve more attention?

SarkomDoomsday Elite, GorgorothInstinctusBestialis, The UglyDecreationNordjevelNordjevel. That’s some of the best albums of late time.

What do you know about the Greek extreme metal? Do you have some favorite bands?

Natvre’s is an awesome upcoming band.

Ok, thank you for your time. Do you have any closing thoughts or anything else you want to add?

Stay updated and keep your eyes open for more. Thank you for this interview.

For more Avslut visit: https://www.facebook.com/1008Avslut1008/

Avslut – Vanskapt (2016)

avslut-vanskapt

Avslut is a newly formed band, but also a hard working one. In their sole year of existence they released two singles and one EP, for which I am going to talk about in this review. The band members are seasoned musicians (although I never heard of their previous bands) and this can be heard – the quality of their work is astonishing.

If what you seek in your black metal is darkness, disharmony, anger, misery, deformity, this EP has you covered. With four tracks clocking just over 20 minutes, they give us a taste of classic Swedish black metal that pays tribute to the entirety of their scene, in its own unique way.

Sharp guitars intertwine and create beautiful yet nightmarish riffing, the bass is digging graves and the gnarled vocals assault the senses. The intense drumming is inspired and fitting and the tight mix glues everything together nicely, leaving enough headroom for dynamics. I always like that as it makes the listening experience easy.

The compositions are well thought out. They never go stale; instead they constantly evolve into some new mischief. Vrede had my hair raised. On many occasions I felt my heart racing. I can’t remember when was the last time a contemporary release managed to do that to me. All I can say for this little gem here is: a work of genius. I became a huge fan of Avslut in under 20 minutes. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

For more Avslut head here: https://www.facebook.com/1008Avslut1008/

Diabolical – Umbra (2016)

diabolical-umbra-cover

Sweden’s Diabolical are the definition of unknown heroes of the underground. This exactly is why I started ATF, to shed some well deserved light on such bands. Formed in 1998, they have four full length albums under their belt, and I believe this year they are about to add another one to the count.

From the very first minutes of this EP they give the stigma of their brand of melodic blackened death metal, but their music is so multifaceted that under this veil hide a true chameleon. Even before the first song reaches its end, the mood changes, setting the stage for the follow up, and this repeats for the whole duration. Through those four tracks they offer enough variation by introducing new elements and changing the emotions using lead guitars, synths, voices, samples, whatever it takes to make the EP impactful. This in my humble opinion is just excellent songwriting and clever production.

The rhythm guitars sound ‘proper heavy’ while the leads are constantly buzzing away, weaving a melodic layer. The bass and drumwork are quite inspired, supporting the music without overburdening the mids. The brutal vocals fit the music like a glove, while the clean voices (when used) help take the songs the extra mile. Everything is properly done, which is a pleasant surprise in the ocean of half-arsed releases we are drown.

The sound on this EP is clean and powerful. The mix is just right. You feel the balance in every aspect of every song. Everything sounds natural and manages to wake up feelings, which is what music should be able to do as an art form.

The verdict? Give it a spin. If these 20 minutes cannot convince you that Diabolical deserve to be big, I honestly don’t know what can. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

more info:

https://www.facebook.com/diabolicalofficial/

http://store.diabolical.se/